WISCONSIN NEWS

w w w . m i d d l e w i s c o n s i n . o r g

A FACT-DRIVEN VOICE FOR MIDDLE WISCONSIN VIEWS

WALKER’S PRIVATIZED june 22, 2011 EDUCATION AGENDA by Jim Mattes
IN THIS ISSUE:
News & Notes ...........5 We Can Take Government Back for the People ...........7 The Origins of Middle Wisconsin .....8 Interesting Facts .....11 The Literary Page ...12

On Monday, May 9, Governor Walker delivered a speech to an audience of school-choice advocates in Washington, DC, in which he told them,“Every kid deserves to have a great education because they each have limitless potential.” Apparently, that doesn’t include the children of Wisconsin’s public schools, who just received an $834 million cut in their right to have such a great education. This cut was the largest in state history. What surprised even Walker’s supporters at his speech to the American Federation for Children summit—which included billionaire school-choice activist Betsy DeVos, who funds voucher efforts around the country—was his plan to expand Milwaukee’s voucher program to other cities: Racine, Green Bay, and Beloit.
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CHALLENGING THE MyTH
Myth: Private Is More Efficient Than Public .......................13

Alternative Budget Proposals

by Dave Svetlik

In a May 11, 2011, letter to the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance, Legislative Fiscal Bureau director Robert Wm. Lang stated: “Based on our review of the collections data and the new economic forecast, we now believe that general fund tax revenues will be higher than the previous estimates by $233 million in 2010–11, $204 million in 2011–12, and $199 million in 2012–13. The three-year increase is $636 million, or 1.6%.”

As a result of this Representative Donna Seidel (D-Wausau), along with other Democratic legislators, released an Alternative Budget Proposal to counter some of the severe cuts made to education and other social programs by the Walker budget.
© 2011 Middle Wisconsin (CONTINUED ON PAGE 4…)

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WALKER’S AGENDA

(continued from p. 1)

“The NEA’s new executive director, John Stocks, believes that the Governor’s real agenda is to dismantle public schools through privatization schemes.”

The recently passed budget that awaits the Governor’s signature includes Racine in the program. Efforts to include Green Bay were thwarted by an overwhelming reaction of opposition from educators, the Green Bay community, and the Superintendent. Senator Mike Ellis of Appleton, the Senate President, appeared blindsided by the Governor’s proposal to expand the voucher program, stating, “I didn’t see this coming. We have problems with eliminating the income threshold because the idea behind this program was to help poverty-stricken students who don’t have the wherewithal to go to private school.” Senator Luther Olsen, one of six Republicans up for recall and the chair of the Education Committee, was also quick to back away from the Governor’s latest plan, but he ended up voting for the Racine expansion in the budget. The irony in the Governor’s expanded plan is that a recent evaluation by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction clearly indicates that students in voucher schools do not outperform their counterparts from public schools. Voucher supporters like to point to statistics that seem to indicate that students in the scholarship program were more likely to graduate from high school, but they tend to ignore similar statistics which show that students in the program do NOT do better than their public school counterparts on standardized reading and math tests. Worse yet, the Governor has successfully inserted in the budget a provision that eliminates the requirement that students take these statewide achievement tests by which the public could measure the accountability of the voucher schools as they do the public schools. The National Education Association’s new executive director, John Stocks, believes that the Governor’s real agenda is to dismantle public schools through privatization schemes. He says, “The taxpayers are being bilked.... For someone who claims to be a staunch taxpayer advocate, he [Walker] is a hypocrite.” Florida Governor Rick Scott has proposed the most far-reaching new voucher plans. He wants to create “education savings accounts” that would help pay private school tuition for ANY student in the state. Under his plan, every family with school-aged children could get 85% of the per-pupil cost in public schools— roughly $5,500—to use for school expenses OUTSIDE the public system. Is this where Wisconsin is headed? Currently, the Milwaukee voucher program is capped at 22,500 pupils, but the new budget lifts that cap. It also lifts the cap on virtual, online charter schools. These new voucher plans seem to fly in the face of the national trend, in which the Obama administration is winding down federally funded vouchers in Washington, DC. It let funding expire for the Opportunity Scholarship Program, even as it embraces other reform efforts through the Race to the Top grants. A June 8 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article indicates that Walker plans to link job training money with local education reform. According to the Chair of the Council on Workforce Investment, educators will be required to create programs tailored to the needs of local employers. This means that business will become the tail wagging the dog, so to speak. The Governor apparently wants to improve the alignment between what private sector employers need and the skills that education and job
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WALKER’S AGENDA

(continued from p. 2)

training systems provide. Some suggest that this goes beyond such things as linking curriculum like agricultural science in schools that serve children from primarily agriculturally dominant areas, but stay tuned to see what other “links” may be in the offing. What is painfully clear is that Governor Walker’s education agenda overreaches beyond the scope of what private school vouchers were originally intended to accomplish. His new budget eliminates grant programs for Advanced Placement courses, alcohol and drug abuse prevention, licensed nurses with bachelor’s degrees, and English for Southeast Asian students. Some of the nonfiscal items that showed up in the final budget just passed by the legislature include the following: • Eliminating the 180-day minimum school day calendar • Repealing the limit on the number of students who can use open enrollment to attend a virtual charter school in ANOTHER district • Allowing ANY four-year UW campus to sponsor an independent charter school • Requiring that charter school teachers need only have a bachelor’s degree to teach (NOT a teacher’s license) • Removing the need for reading specialists Consider these comments from Mike Langyel, head of Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association: “In a time of budget cuts, the Governor is going to subsidize the tuition of wealthy families by removing the income caps.... Choice schools get to choose the students they want to educate and leave behind the rest—students with behavioral problems or special needs—to populate the city’s public schools at a higher rate than choice schools.” Finally, Gloria Rogers, President of the Racine branch of the NAACP, offers this ominous reflection: The school choice vouchers to Racine students would allow a family of four earning $67,500 to become eligible for the same dollar amount as those with an annual income of $10,000. She asserts, “Is this not the beginning of a ploy to resegregate schools? If we allow the voucher system, it will end up becoming a subsidy for the rich to pay for their children going to private schools and leave behind those that have the greatest need.” After reading this ambitious “agenda” of the Walker administration, is there any question as to what direction the Governor and his corporate supporters wish to take our state?

“What is painfully clear is that Governor Walker’s education agenda overreaches beyond the scope of what private school vouchers were originally intended to accomplish.”

Sources & Recommended Reading
http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2011/05/betsy-devos-in-running-for-billionaire.html http://www.talk2action.org/story/2011/4/20/232844/831 http://my.firedoglake.com/iflizwerequeen/tag/betsy-devos/ http://herinst.org/BusinessManagedDemocracy/education/campaigns/DeVos.html

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Alternative Budget Proposals (continued from p. 1)
In a press release on May 17, Representative Seidel stated, “Budgets are all about choices and the recent revenue estimates give the governor an opportunity to choose Wisconsin’s children and workers over special interests and campaign donors.” The proposed budget directs $356 million to public schools, including the Wisconsin Technical College System. It also eliminates the expansion of voucher schools to ensure support of public education, rather than sending $40 million to private schools. Locally, this will mean an increase in funding of $4.9 million for the Wausau School District and $3.3 million for the D.C. Everest School District. Additionally, the proposal directs $200 million to repay the Injured Patient and Families Compensation Fund and $100 million to restructure the state’s bonding debt to avoid future budget problems. Perhaps even more important than the Democratic Alternative Budget Proposal is the May 25 release of the Wisconsin Values Budget by a group of 31 nonprofit organizations. Spearheaded by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future, and the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), the Wisconsin Values Budget, in words taken from wispolitics.com: “provides a balanced approach to the state’s fiscal challenges, demonstrating that the Governor’s choices are not necessary ones. There are better options that preserve Wisconsin’s remarkable record of progress and innovation in such key areas as education, health care, mass transit, and support for low-income workers striving to join the middle class. . . . Instead of relying on spending cuts alone, the Wisconsin Values Budget addresses the deficit through a combination of spending cuts; targeted revenue increases that require corporations and the wealthy to contribute their fair share; improved revenue collection efforts; and public employee concessions.”

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“Under the Wisconsin Values plan, the gap is closed through tax increases on corporations and wealthy Wisconsinites (29%), improved revenue collection (25%), public employee concessions (29%), and efficiency and miscellaneous cuts (17%).”

Governor Walker’s budget cuts over $2 billion from counties, cities and towns, education, and state services while at the same time giving tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy. The Wisconsin Values Budget takes a very different approach. Under the Walker plan, the entire budget gap is closed through public employee concessions (38%), and cuts to seniors, education, and communities (62%). Under the Wisconsin Values plan, the gap is closed through tax increases on corporations and wealthy Wisconsinites (29%), improved revenue collection (25%), public employee concessions (29%), and efficiency and miscellaneous cuts (17%). The Walker budget targets our public education system, along with members of our society who can least afford it, and will almost certainly result in reduced economic activity and employment. The Wisconsin Values Budget rejects the historically disproved belief that taxing corporations and the wealthy kills jobs, and leads us back to economic health without sacrificing the middle and lower classes. If we have any hope of overcoming the harm that will result from the Walker budget, we need to present an alternative. Visit http://citizenactionwi.org/healthcare/ alt-budget-2011.html for a description of the Wisconsin Values Budget. It is critical that we educate ourselves.

Helpful Resources
http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/ Misc/2011_05_11Darling%20and%20 Vos_General%20Fund.pdf http://fairfundingforourfuture.org/pdf/ statements/05-18_seidel.pdf http://www.rivertowns.net/event/article/ id/233833/

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news & notes
eVents cAlendAr
“We Are Wisconsin” meeting
Thursday, June 23 6:00 PM Wausau Labor Temple

JUNE 2011

by Jim Mattes
Governor Walker’s request for permit and training requirements, the bill added these provisions to the original bill, which was a strict “constitutional carry” bill, which would have allowed any legal citizen over age 21 without a felony conviction to carry a concealed weapon. Republicans believe the measure will help people take control over their own safety. Several Democrats believed it was a “no-brainer” to exempt the Capitol because some impassioned debates could arouse a single visitor to do serious damage if he/ she became irrational. However, Republican Senator Pam Galloway, of Wausau, the bill’s author, said, “It would be hypocritical of us to carve out the state Capitol as a building prohibited from carrying concealed weapons.” Senator Jim Holperin, of Eagle River, one of the three Democrats up for recall, was one of the six Democrats who voted in favor of the bill. He believes that the bill will help Wisconsin align itself with the other 48 states that have conformed to the wishes of the voters and comply with the Constitution.

Internet Turn Down of Federal Funds
A surprise provision in the state budget would have prohibited the University of Wisconsin system from continuing a project to provide communities—including the Wausau area—with broadband Internet connections. Republicans defended the measure, saying the UW system should not be in the business of providing telecommunications. Opponents of the measure argued that broadband expansion builds an infrastructure that is unavailable through private industry. The bill would have prohibited the UW from participating and eliminated $1.4 million for employee salaries to staff WiscNet. WiscNet provides Internet services for 75% of schools and libraries in Wisconsin. This measure would have forced the UW system to return $39 million in funds to Washington, DC, and would have forced schools to turn to Badgernet, the statewide area network, which depends heavily on AT&T as its primary vendor. As of Wednesday, June 15, the budget bill writers withdrew this controversial provision. Perhaps public outcry from both sides of the aisle, as well as from tech people from around the state, influenced this decision. For further info on this story, see City Pages (June 9–16 issue, p. 6) and http:// arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/06/ wisconsin-public-internet-fights-telecomsattempts-to-kill-it-off.ars

Find out how you can
get involved in the senate recall efforts. All Middle Wisconsin members are invited.

Concert for Voters
Sunday, August 14 400 Block, Wausau

Information about
registering to vote & networking to prepare for November recalls Speakers: Dave Obey, Senator Erpenbach, Representative Barca, & Tony Schultz Musical Acts: Purgatory Hill, Hometown Harmonies, New Merry Pranksters, Sloppy Joe, Doug Kroening & the D-Railers, Solidarity Singalong, Tyler Vogt, & Lisa Akey

Supreme Court Overturns Lower Court Ruling on Collective Bargaining
In a 4-3 decision, the State Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, June 15, that Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi overstepped her authority when she voided Governor Walker’s measure limiting collective bargaining. Sumi ruled that the state’s open meetings law was violated when Republicans met and amended the bill in March, allowing the Senate to bypass a Democratic boycott. Republican Senator Pam Galloway said the ruling “vindicated” the Legislature’s passage of the law and gives municipalities stability in their own budget processes.
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Concealed Carry Bill Passes Senate 25-8
The Wisconsin Senate passed a bill Tuesday, June 14, that will allow concealed weapons in the state Capitol and other public places, but not in police stations, courthouses, and other designated locations. The final vote was 25-8, with 6 Democrats joining all 19 Republicans in supporting it. Deferring to

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news & notes (continued from p. 5)
weekly eVent
Mondays, 5:00 pm Day’s Bowl-A-Dome Wausau
Bring a friend or two and
join Middle Wisconsin members Monday nights to talk current events & have some fun. One day later, several labor groups began challenging the constitutionality of the bill they say would destroy collective bargaining rights for all but a select group of public sector workers. Gov. Walker responded by saying, “I think the people of the state feel the legal action is done and it’s time to move forward.”

Fake Candidates Will Cost Taxpayers Plenty as Recall Primaries and Election Dates Are Set
Sixteen candidates have filed nomination papers by the June 14 deadline in six Senate districts where Republicans are being targeted for recall elections. Republicans have made no secret that six of their candidates are “protest candidates” who are running as Democrats to force primaries to give their incumbent Republican Senators an additional month to prepare for a general election. The Democrats originally planned to enter “placeholder” candidates in the three districts where Democrats were targeted but withdrew that plan after deciding that the Republicans could not manipulate in which primary elections and in which general elections they would place their considerable financial support. Estimates from local election clerks about the cost of the “extra” primaries total up to $428,000, no small total when our state is “broke.” The multiple candidates are forcing primaries to be held on July 12, with the general recall election to follow on August 9 for the six Republicans. The three Democratic recalls, which all appear to have “legitimate” candidates, are set for primaries on July 19 and general elections on August 16. For further info, check out the June 14 issue of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Restrictive Voter ID Bill Signed Into Law
On May 19, the State Senate approved a controversial bill requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Under the bill, a voter would have to present a driver’s license, state ID, passport, military ID, naturalization papers, or a tribal ID. College students could vote with a school ID; however, currently, none of the WI university IDs include the necessary information for students to use their school IDs to vote. People will be asked for ID in elections this year, but they will be allowed to vote without one. Staring in 2012, they will not be allowed to cast a ballot without a valid ID. Supporters say that the bill is necessary to assure that voter fraud is resolved. Critics say the bill is an attempt to suppress the votes of students, seniors, and minorities and seeks to fix a nonexistent problem. Only 20 cases of voter fraud have been prosecuted by the Department of Justice since the 2008 election, and none of those involved people using someone else’s name at the polls. Scott Ross, of One Wisconsin Now, believes that ultimately this bill will cost Wisconsin not only fair and clean elections, but also millions of tax dollars when the courts rule that voters have been denied their legal right to vote.

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We Can Take Government Back for the People by John Spiegelhoff

“To a system in the depths of decadence the truth is seen as madness, while its own unquestioned, unquestionable dogma is seen as the height of reason.”
—Author Unknown

Where did the concept of representative democracy go?
What happened to the consent of the governed? There used to be a time in this great state when laws were created based on a legitimate and identifiable issue supported by sound rational. Proposed legislation usually came from the ranks of the governed, who contacted their representative, who drafted a bill. In other words, the majority of the governed believed a legitimate need existed to create a law. Rational and logical debate followed on the merits of the bill. The bill was either passed or failed. I am aghast at the form of government we have now in Wisconsin. Laws are passed by a Legislature of ideologues. The will of the people is ignored. Laws are now passed based upon an agenda that serves no other purpose than to suppress the governed and to consolidate and maintain the power of the majority party.

Legislation is created and laws are passed which aim to suppress the poor, working, and middle classes in Wisconsin. These include significant cuts in Medicaid, voter suppression, stripping employees of their collective bargaining rights, and departmental appointments without legislative oversight. Take heed, but do not despair. It is time to take our government back from the brink of disaster. Despite the voter suppression law passed by our Legislature, recall elections are occurring all over Wisconsin. Exercise your right to cast a vote to take back your government from those who aim to take away your rights and your voice. Editor’s Note: John is a Staff Representative for AFSCME Council 40

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The Origins of Middle Wisconsin by Mandy Wright
Mission stAteMent is an independent, working to evaluate citizens’ coalition Middle Wisconsin

candidates and meajust and transparent communities, social sures that promote

and support political

government, healthy responsibility, thriving ronmental stewardship, local economies, envi-

and quality education.

In just a few months, Middle Wisconsin has hosted a dizzying array of meetings, events, and protests. Our communication and promotion tools—including our website (www.middlewisconsin.org), private Facebook page (with over 650 members), public Facebook page (with more than 300 members), newsletter, and t-shirts—have helped people stay informed but also have given us all a sense of community and outlet as more devastating information is continuously released from Madison. Member demographics include union and nonunion working people, retirees, teachers, small business owners, the unemployed, lawyers, high school students, university staff, and more. We seek to represent the middle of the state and to focus on the health of our community. Our immediate goals are to recall Governor Walker and Senator Galloway, as well as to grow our organization. The question has often arisen, “How did Middle Wisconsin get started?” On Wednesday, February 16, 2011, my husband, two coworkers, and I headed to Madison after work to join the protests against Governor Walker’s Budget Repair Bill that would have cut unions, education, healthcare, and public transportation—

all critical services that we, our neighbors, and our students rely upon. There were thousands gathered in the Capitol that night, and the next day, the Fab 14 left the state. Within the next 2 weeks, we managed to protest with our three young children two times, and while it was exhilarating to be part of the larger movement fermenting with ideas, our family was exhausted. From this exhaustion sprung a realization: We cannot continue to dedicate all our energy to Madison; it’s time to focus on what we can do here in Wausau. How was Pam Galloway elected in my backyard? Sean Duffy does not represent my values. I invited a diverse group of 50 socially conscious friends and acquaintances to dinner Friday night. With poster paper on the walls to gather ideas, we came together in frustration and anger, but also with a sense of purpose. We needed to get involved. How had these policies intruded on our families, professions, and communities so rapidly and clearly against our will? The organization’s name and site domain, Middle Wisconsin, had already been conceived and was graciously offered for the use of our group. A private Facebook page and website were created within days, and so began Middle Wisconsin.
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the origins of Middle Wisconsin (continued from p. 8)
March was fast and furious. With two initial meetings of over 60 participants each, there was focus and drive to support JoAnne Kloppenburg’s bid for State Supreme Court Justice. Committees were formed, of which Research has been particularly active, with two documents published on our site. A newsletter was created. As Kloppenburg’s election was discussed, a tried and true initiative called “One to Get Ten” was suggested and implemented, garnering thousands of promised votes. More than 20 people from our group canvassed neighborhoods across Wausau. A Hmong Community meeting at Horace Mann informed clan leaders and over 60 community members about the importance of the elections and how to register to vote. This format was replicated with the Hmong in Stevens Point. Middle Wisconsin quickly formed into a Political Action Committee to enable us to financially support the election of Kloppenburg’s campaign and to air a radio ad (during the WDEZ polka hour) focusing on the rights of the elderly and veterans that were being threatened. We have since dissolved to operate as a coalition not subject to GAB regulations. We, as a growing community coalition, organized a protest in front of Wausau’s courthouse with 300 participants and only 2 days’ notice. Facebook proved to be a powerful communication tool for protests against a GOP meeting at the Rose Garden, as well as two visits by Walker to Wausau with only a few hours’ notice. A group of retirees initiated “Coffee at Pam’s” in front of Pam Galloway’s house, which lasted only 1 day since she quickly agreed to their previously made requests to meet with her when she realized it was personal.

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“From this exhaustion sprung a realization: We cannot continue to dedicate all our energy to Madison; it’s time to focus on what we can do here in Wausau. How was Pam Galloway elected in my backyard? Sean Duffy does not represent my values.”

There have been several public showings of documentaries, including “Down By the River,” centered on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s final struggle for the rights of sanitation workers in the South; “Black Box,” an exposé on voter fraud dating back to the ’90s; and “Astroturf Wars,” about corporate sponsorship of “grassroots movements.” Lively discussion has followed each viewing.

Several members of Middle Wisconsin were able to represent the group at the Joint Finance Committee meeting at NTC, the Carry and Conceal proposal at UWMC, and Donna Seidel’s “Save Our Schools” budget proposal at Wausau West. In addition, the Center for Civic Engagement hosted a Tax Day teach-in featuring Kat Becker and Eric Giordianno, two UWMC professors who presented in favor of more progressive taxation. On Tax Day itself, we protested in front of the Post Office. Middle Wisconsin hosted a bowling event at Day’s Bowl-A-Dome, where we unveiled our t-shirts and raised over $300, thanks to Dean Day’s generous support. For Earth Day, a garbage clean-up was organized. Roy Zimmerman, a musician and political satirist, performed at First Universalist Unitarian Church of Wausau with a Middle Wisconsin reception beforehand. We were a presence at the Labor Picnic in Merrill, connecting with like-minded organizations, individuals, and politicians. Most recently,
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the origins of Middle Wisconsin (continued from p. 9)
on May 26, union members, teachers, and concerned citizens united in an outcry against Walker’s book reading to Franklin Elementary students, and many of those in attendance were there because Middle Wisconsin had informed them of the protest.

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“U.S. polling data reveal a startling degree of consensus on key issues. Eightythree percent of Americans believe that as a society the United States is focused on the wrong priorities.”

if you organized a protest, designed the logo, wrote an editorial, started the website, or spoke at a meeting. Thank you if you contributed to the newsletter, offered your music talents, attended a rally, or bought a t-shirt. Thank you if you posted on Facebook, called our local media, or contacted your elected officials. Thank you if you recommended us to a friend. Changing the prevailing stories in the United States may be easier to accomplish than we might think. The apparent political divisions notwithstanding, U.S. polling data reveal a startling degree of consensus on key issues. Eighty-three percent of Americans believe that as a society the United States is focused on the wrong priorities. Supermajorities want to see greater priority given to children, family, community, and a healthy environment. Americans also want a world that puts people ahead of profits, spiritual values ahead of financial values, and international cooperation ahead of international domination. These earth community values are in fact widely shared by both conservatives and liberals.

Looking to the future, we have reserved the 400 Block of Wausau on Sunday, August 14, for a Concert for Voters. With seven musical acts and speakers like Dave Obey, Senator Erpenbach, Representative Barca, and Tony Schultz lined up, it promises to be a rallying point for our community. We will also have information about registering to vote and will be networking in preparation for the November recalls. The musical line-up includes Purgatory Hill, Hometown Harmonies, New Merry Pranksters, Sloppy Joe, Doug Kroening & the D-Railers, Solidarity Singalong, Tyler Vogt, and Lisa Akey, all of whom have donated their musical talents for no more than gas money. The amount of time and energy that people have put into the efforts of Middle Wisconsin is overwhelming. Thank you

Our nation is on the wrong course not because Americans have the wrong values. It is on the wrong course because of remnant imperial institutions that give an accountable power to a small allegiance of right-wing extremists who call themselves conservatives and claim to support family and community values, but whose preferred economic and social policies constitute a ruthless war against children, families, communities, and the environment (Korten, 2006). Middle Wisconsin’s success is due to each person’s passion for change. The power to save our community lies with all of us, and through our communal efforts, we will all be stronger.
Source: Korten, D. (2006, Summer). From empire to Earth community. Yes! Magazine, p. 18.

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interesting fActs
of the Bon ton store, Rome and erasmus cloisters....” might stand in front Hannibal invaded wrote in oxford “that this Ford car

JUNE 2011

Fa c t:   
  
2010 Average CEO Pay at S&P 500 Companies
Salary.................................... $1,093,989 Bonus ...................................... $251,413 Stock Awards ....................... $3,833,052 Option Awards ...................... $2,384,871 Non-equity Incentive Plan Compensation ...................... $2,397,152 Pension and Deferred Compensation Earnings ............................... $1,182,057 All Other Compensation .......... $215,911 TOTAL ................................ $11,358,445 Income inequality in the United States during the past decade has spiked to levels not seen since the Roaring ’20s that led to the Great Depression. The increase of income inequality leading up to the 2008 financial crisis and “Great Recession” is striking. Between 1993 and 2008, the top 1% of Americans captured 52% of all income growth in the United States.
Source: Emmanuel Saez, U.C. Berkeley Economics Department, “Striking It Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States,” July 17, 2010. Available at http://elsa.berkeley. edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2008.pdf

Fact:     

R. W. Tillerson
Chairman and CEO EXXON MOBIL CORP (XOM) Headquarters: Irving, TX Petroleum Refining and Related Industries In 2010, R. W. Tillerson received $28,952,558 in total compensation. By comparison, the median worker made $33,190 in 2010. R. W. Tillerson made 872 times the median worker’s pay.

—Sinclair Lewis Main Street (Published 1920)
editor’s note: Change “Bon Ton Store” to “Wal-Mart” and little has changed. We could all read Main Street again.

Michael S. Jeffries
Chairman and CEO ABERCROMBIE & FITCH (ANF) Headquarters: New Albany, OH Apparel and Accessory Stores In 2009, Michael S. Jeffries received $36,335,644 in total compensation. By comparison, the median worker made $33,190 in 2010. Michael S. Jeffries made 1,094 times the median worker’s pay.
Source: http://www.aflcio.org/corporatewatch/ paywatch/index.cfm

Editor’s Note: What can one say? A $40,000 employee must work 284 years to equal I year of S&P CEO pay. But there is good news: A person making $100,000 only has to work 114 years to equal the CEO’s 1 year of pay. Of course, the CEO often pays a lower effective tax rate than those paid less do, but let’s not get picky.

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tHe literAry PAge
cAll for entries
We are looking for letters to the editor, articles on relevant topics, and reports from people on the street (rallies, visits with politicians, school board and city council meetings, etc.) We ask that letters be limited to 600 words and that references be cited where appropriate. Please provide author name, municipality, and phone number for purposes of verification. Feel free to contact us with your ideas for articles. We are seeking people who wish to submit occasional work and those who would like to be regular contributors. Topics can include politics, social issues, economics, education, local business, unions, events, and other appropriate topics. We hope to represent the broad spectrum of people: blue collar and white collar workers, public and private employees, union and non-union members, business owners, farmers, and more. Submissions may be edited for length, clarity, accuracy, and taste, but we will seek the author’s approval before publication. Emailed submissions should be sent in plain text or as Microsoft Word attachments.If you would like to contribute, contact dave@middlewisconsin.org

JUNE 2011

Thank you, Scott Walker by JK
Thank you, Scott Walker, Because of you, I have a new purpose, I have awakened and my eyes are finally clear, ...The fog I have lived in for many years is lifted, A new dawn has risen for me. You see, Scott, I used to believe good would always win, That people, all people, really cared about one another, That government was something I should only think about on Election Day. But because of you, Scott Walker, My eyes are finally open, So many people walk around asleep, they still don’t see, But because of you, Scott, I will help them, I will wake them! I have stood in the snow, the rain, The wind, the heat, and the sun, My skin has thickened, My hair has grayed, My hands have bled from the beating of my tambourine, All of this has made me stronger. So thank you, Scott Walker, For you alone have given me, A reason to wake, a reason to breathe, A reason to fight another day! My children will have a better tomorrow because of you, You have taught my family resilience, solidarity, and the true meaning of unity! We may have lost some friends along the way, Some of our own family may have left us, too, But the new sisters and brothers we have found Are the greatest gift you could have given us. So thank you, Scott Walker, Thank you, for today I stood up.

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cHAllenging tHe mytH
The Myth: Private Is More Efficient Than Public by Dave Svetlik
We are all aware, especially in Wisconsin, that at both the state and federal levels, government properties, functions, and services are being privatized. “And if all others accepted the lie which the party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became the truth.”
—George Orwell, 1984 (published in 1949) From water utilities to prisons, roads, heating plants, parks, and parking meters, publicly owned entities are being sold off to corporations. Few of us, however, realize the extent of this process. The past decade has witnessed unprecedented transferal of public property to private hands. According to Lee Cokorinos: “We live in the midst of the most extensive privatization of public assets and services in history. From a set of fringe think tank policy proposals in the 1970s and ’80s, the drive for privatization has grown into an industry in itself, a “new gold rush” promoted and financed by billion-dollar special interests in the financial services, defense contracting, IT and government consulting sectors.” its ability to govern and its sources of revenue to prove you are right, add a little Adam Smith and Social Darwinism to lend moral authority and biblical stature, throw in some Ayn Rand for those who have never studied history, and you are left with but one solution: The only way to save America is to privatize—We must corporatize everything. But does it work? Is a profit-making entity, pledged to earn money for its shareholders, actually better or more efficient at owning or providing formerly public properties and services? Let us look at the record: • A 2009 report by Food and Water Watch titled “Mortgaging Milwaukee’s Future: Why Leasing the Water System Is a Bad Deal for Consumers” found that leasing the city’s water system to a private operator would cost the community, at minimum, an additional $17 million. For more information on the high cost of privatized water see: http://www. foodandwaterwatch.org/factsheet/ selling-out-consumers/ • A 2009 article in The New York Times reported that two judges in Pennsylvania had received $2.6 million in kickbacks from a private company that operated juvenile detention centers. The judges were aggressively sentencing children for minor infractions to ensure the detention center remained full. • A May 2009 report by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau showed the state Department of Transportation lost $1.2 million outsourcing engineering
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Of course, none of this occurred in a vacuum or overnight. The stage had to be set. For over 30 years, we have been hearing: “Government is the enemy and can do nothing right.” “Regulations are killing the economy and jobs.” “The Invisible Hand will most efficiently guide the free market.” “All things public are bad—All things private are good.” “Greed is good.” This was the process, orchestrated to perfection. Condemn the government as an incompetent threat to the people, remove

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MIDDLE WISCONSIN NEWS
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work to private contractors. Most analysis indicated that outsourced engineering could have been done at a lower cost by state workers. • A 2011 report “Infrastructure Privatization Contracts and Their Effect on Governance” by Ellen Dannin of the Pennsylvania Dickinson School of Law found that in 2008, the private contractors that operated the Northwest Parkway in Denver, Colorado, objected to improvements on nearby roads. The 99-year privatization contract allowed the company to prevent improvements on city-owned roads, since the improvements “might hurt the parkway financially.” The same report showed that in September 2008, Indiana was required to reimburse the private Indiana Toll Road operator $447,000 for tolls that were waived for people being evacuated during a severe flood. These examples are the just tip of the iceberg. American democracy is in danger, and perhaps little is more deceptive or destructive than the growing effort to privatize our government. Not only is privatization of dubious value in reducing costs or increasing efficiency, it brings the added danger of undermining community. Privatization is a direct assault on collective action—on the ability of a people to come together for the common good. Turning one’s government over to profitmaking corporations is the clearest message yet that it is “every man for himself.” That it is “you or me” and not “we.” That there must be winners and losers. It is a subtle process that divides us as a people. Our parents and grandparents gave their blood, sweat, and tears to hand a strong public legacy down to their children. How heartbroken they would be to see it now being lost to profit making, moneyed interests.

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cHAllenging tHe mytH (continued from p. 13)
It is imperative that we all educate ourselves on the perils of privatization.

Recommended Links
http://inthepublicinterest.org/ http://www.corporations.org/privatization. html http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2010072920/exposed-post-911-privatization-government-spending-and-conservative-failure http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dylan-ratigan/america-for-sale-is-goldm_b_877285. html

“Privatization is a direct assault on collective action—on the ability of a people to come together for the common good. Turning one’s government over to profitmaking corporations is the clearest message yet that it is ‘every man for himself.’ ”

References

Cokorinos, L. (2010). The privatization industry. In the Public Interest: Ensuring Democratic Control of Public Functions & Understanding the Risks of Privatization. Retrieved from http://inthepublicinterest. org/node/362 Dannin, E. (2011, Winter). Infrastructure privatization contracts and their effect on governance. Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy, 6. Retrieved from http:// www.law.northwestern.edu/journals/njlsp/ v6/n1/2/2Dannin.pdf Food and Water Watch. (2009, November). Mortgaging Milwaukee’s future: Why leasing the water system is a bad deal for consumers. Retrieved from http://www. foodandwaterwatch.org/tools-and-resources/mortgaging-milwaukee%e2%80%99sfuture-why-leasing-the-water-system-is-abad-deal-for-consumers/ Urbina, I., & Hamill, S. D. (2009, February 13). Judges plead guilty in scheme to jail youths for profit. New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes. com/2009/02/13/us/13judge.html Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau. (2009, May). Construction Engineering in State Highway Projects. Retrieved from http:// legis.wisconsin.gov/lab/reports/09-dotconstructionengineering_ltr.pdf

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